[sim-poh-zee-uh m]
See more synonyms for symposium on
noun, plural sym·po·si·ums, sym·po·si·a [sim-poh-zee-uh] /sɪmˈpoʊ zi ə/.
  1. a meeting or conference for the discussion of some subject, especially a meeting at which several speakers talk on or discuss a topic before an audience.
  2. a collection of opinions expressed or articles contributed by several persons on a given subject or topic.
  3. an account of a discussion meeting or of the conversation at it.
  4. (in ancient Greece and Rome) a convivial meeting, usually following a dinner, for drinking and intellectual conversation.
  5. (initial capital letter, italics) a philosophical dialogue (4th century b.c.) by Plato, dealing with ideal love and the vision of absolute beauty.

Origin of symposium

1580–90; < Latin < Greek sympósion drinking party, equivalent to sym- sym- + po- (variant stem of pī́nein to drink) + -sion noun suffix Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for symposium

Contemporary Examples of symposium

Historical Examples of symposium

  • There are no means of determining the relative order in time of the Phaedrus, Symposium, Phaedo.

  • The Phaedo also presents some points of comparison with the Symposium.

  • Yet this 'passion of the reason' is the theme of the Symposium of Plato.

  • The Symposium cannot therefore be regarded as a youthful work.

  • The Symposium may be observed to resemble as well as to differ from the Phaedo.



British Dictionary definitions for symposium


noun plural -siums or -sia (-zɪə)
  1. a conference or meeting for the discussion of some subject, esp an academic topic or social problem
  2. a collection of scholarly contributions, usually published together, on a given subject
  3. (in classical Greece) a drinking party with intellectual conversation, music, etc

Word Origin for symposium

C16: via Latin from Greek sumposion, from sumpinein to drink together, from sum- syn- + pinein to drink
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for symposium

1580s, "account of a gathering or party," from Latin symposium "drinking party, symposium," from Greek symposion "convivial gathering of the educated" (related to sympotes "drinking companion"), from syn- "together" (see syn-) + posis "a drinking," from a stem of Aeolic ponen "to drink," cognate with Latin potare "to drink" (see potion). The sense of "meeting on some subject" is from 1784. Reflecting the Greek fondness for mixing wine and intellectual discussion, the modern sense is especially from the word being used as a title for one of Plato's dialogues. Greek plural is symposia, and the leader of one is a symposiarch (c.1600 in English).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper